Allergic Rhinitis Specialist Questions and Answers
You don’t have to suffer with a runny nose and sneezing during allergy season. Our allergy specialists at Piniella Asthma + Allergy can do allergy testing and recommend treatment plans for allergies causing hay fever symptoms. Call us for more information or schedule an appointment online! We have convenient locations to serve you in Coral Gables FL and Palmetto Bay FL.
What triggers allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is also sometimes called hay fever, but it isn’t related only to hay, and doesn’t cause a fever. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are similar to a cold – sneezing, sinus pain and pressure, congestion, runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes. Allergic rhinitis is uncomfortable and can interfere with your life, affecting your work or school performance and making you feel sick.
Triggers for allergic rhinitis are tiny airborne particles of allergens or irritants. These particles can include pollen from trees, grass, plants, and weeds, mold, dust mites, airborne chemicals, smoke, and animal dander, which is tiny bits of skin, saliva, and pet waste. We breathe in these particles, and they become trapped in the mucus inside our nose, throat, and lungs. Our immune system begins working to recognize and respond to foreign particles and protect the body against dangerous infections. Cells produce a chemical called histamine when it recognizes something unfamiliar, which causes the cells to increase the amount of mucus being produced, to try to wash out the irritants. We get a runny nose, sneeze, and cough. The immune cells also produce another chemical called antibodies, which match up with the allergens so that if they ever enter the body again, immune cells will recognize them faster. Sometimes the immune system reacts to certain particles that aren’t actually harmful, and this is an allergy.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?
Rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose.” When a person is exposed to things they are allergic to, they notice an increase in the amount of mucus and the mucus may become thicker and change color from clear to yellow. If mucus drains into the back of the throat, this is called postnasal drip. The person may feel they have a stuffed or runny nose, they may sneeze, and they may have itchy eyes and nose.
What will happen if allergic rhinitis is left untreated?
Most allergic rhinitis goes away when either the allergen is removed, or if there is treatment given. Avoiding known allergens is the best way to prevent a reaction, but if it occurs, there are many treatments available to help with symptoms and reduce severity of the reaction.
- Nasal sprays – decongestants or corticosteroids that reduce swelling in the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe.
- Antihistamines – medications that block the effect of histamine, relieving itching, sneezing, and increased mucus.
- Other medications that change how the antibodies work.
- Immunotherapy – small doses of allergens given over time to build up a tolerance in the immune system.
Leaving allergies untreated can lead to increased frequency of infections in the ears, sinuses, and lungs. Repeated and frequent allergic rhinitis creates the opportunity for the upper respiratory system to retain more fluid. Pockets of fluid in the sinuses can foster growth of harmful bacteria or viruses, and become infected. Untreated allergic rhinitis can also make other conditions like asthma or eczema worse. In some cases, reactions to allergens can become stronger and more severe over time.
What doctor treats allergic rhinitis?
Our board-certified allergists at Piniella Asthma + Allergy in Coral Gables and Palmetto Bay, FL specialize in diagnosing and treating allergies of all kinds in children and adults, as well as other respiratory issues like asthma. We do allergy testing to understand each patient’s triggers and provide education for how to prevent and treat symptoms. We can give treatment options, which may include medications and immunotherapy. Our patients know that our doctors are experienced and skilled, and our staff are friendly and professional. Request an appointment online today or call us for more information on how we can help reduce your allergic rhinitis symptoms. We serve patients from Coral Gables FL, Palmetto Bay FL, Westchester FL, Brownsville FL, Kendall FL, Pinecrest FL, Richmond West FL, and Goulds FL.